Beginners Guide To Fitness And Weight Loss: 4 Steps
Losing weight is always hard for most of us especially that we are overwhelmed with hundreds of information on how to lose weight, making us almost unable to start. We all want to lose weight quickly and safely. The quickest way to lose weight is different for everyone and to know how safe one method is from another, we need to spend so much time being vigilant and understand weight loss ourselves.
Carrying a surfeit of pounds is something that a great number of Americans, and indeed people all over the developed world suffer from. It is rarely a conscious choice, a few people would deliberately choose a life often characterized by isolation from others, loneliness, and very often depression, not to mention the myriad of health problems associated with being overweight, such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, just to name a few.
Starting from the assumption that being overweight was not a conscious decision, you must have looked at yourself in the mirror at some point and said: “how did it come to this?” Indeed, the weight did not appear overnight! It is the result of months, years, and sometimes decades of bad, or at least ill-considered or ill-informed choices.
Step 2 – Water
You need water for your body to be able to flush out the fat, and the toxins stored in the fat (that could be a whole other article). Everything your body does better with adequate water. Chances are, you are not drinking enough water (soda, coffee, and juices don’t count). Start getting more water by substituting water or tea for your soft drinks and coffee. Does this slowly, give you time to adapt. If you normally drink 4 soft drinks a day, then on day one make it 3 soft drinks and 1 water or green tea. When you are used to the change, substitute water for a second soda, then a few days later substitute for the third. You want to have no more than 1 a day.
I wouldn’t recommend cutting the “bad” drinks (except diet drinks) out completely as that will make you resistant to keeping up with the plan. Only have one when you really want one and then take a little time – sit down and enjoy it. It will be more satisfying if you make drinking it an “event”. Being satisfied will keep you from wanting another one immediately.
After you gradually reduce the sugary or caffeine-laden drinks, you will want to start adding more water. Again do it gradually. Your body is not used to getting all the water it needs. It is used to storing and hoarding water. It will still store water for a while as that is what it has always done and it takes time to change. This means you may have a little water retention, be a little bloated. This is temporary.
As your body comes to rely on you giving it water, it will start to store less. When it stops storing and starts releasing old water, you will have to go to the bathroom more frequently. This is also temporary. Your body (bladder) will get used to working again and you will have less frequent urges. Your body needs 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, but you have to allow your system time to get back into gear. Do not overwhelm your body or yourself by making this change too fast.
Diet drinks may not have calories, but there are other problems. They are not good for you. Do not start drinking them. If you are drinking them, try substituting them out of your diet at a slightly faster pace. You may even consider using regular soda instead of the diet while they are being phased out. There are numerous articles and books on the dangers of these drinks.
I won’t repeat them here (though I may at some point do an article just on diet drinks). Just think of them as poison and treat them as a disease you need to be rid of. I will just say one thing. Your body knows how to process sugar, but it has trouble dealing with unnatural foods like diet soda. There is an insulin response because it is sweet, but there is no sugar for the insulin to work on. What happens?
My theory is the insulin that has been released because of the diet drink has to do something, so it works on whatever sugar is there in your bloodstream, turning it into fat, and as your blood sugar lowers, you get hungry. So even though there are 0 calories in that drink, the extra snack you are eating because the diet drink made you hungry, does contain calories. Diet soda is one diet food you could do without.
Step 3 – Supplements
Do you need supplements? Supplements can help, but you don’t have to have supplements for success. If you are currently taking supplements keep on taking them. If you are not taking any, but you are interested in boosting your nutrition with supplements go ahead, but again I would caution you to go slowly. Add one supplement at a time. Give yourself time to adapt to it and time to be certain there is no adverse reaction. People can be sensitive to supplements just as some people are allergic or sensitive to some foods.
If you add a dozen supplements to your diet all at once, and you react to one, you will not know which one is the problem. Also, your body has to learn how to process the supplement. Even if you are giving yourself something you need, your body has learned to cope without it, now it has to do things differently. Even though it is a change for the better, it is something that your body must learn and adapt to. Do not overwhelm your system by too much at a time.
I would start with a good multi-vitamin. You could read the labels and find the one with the most vitamins and minerals, or ask a friend, or ask your doctor, or ask your chiropractor. After a few days, you can add another supplement. The second one I would add would be something to provide Omega 3. You have some choices here. Fish oil, hemp seed oil, Chia seeds all is good.
With fish oil, you want to be sure the manufacturer has tested it for pollutants. I believe fish oil, good fish oil, to be the best option, yet I do not use fish oil myself. I cannot swallow the capsules, so I eat Chia seeds. If you get Omega 3’s from fish oil, I would add vitamin E. It helps to protect you if the fish oil is even a little bit “off”, which can happen. The third addition would be a good pro-biotic. If you have ever had an anti-biotic you probably need to increase the good bacteria that your body uses for digestion. The fourth one would be Vitamin D. The use of sunscreens has resulted in nearly all of us being low on vitamin D. Next I would add magnesium as my reading indicates it is a mineral we all seem to be deficient in.
I take several other supplements, but we don’t all need the same things. This is a good start and for many people, it is all you need. If you wanted to investigate whether anything else was needed I would recommend seeing a qualified naturopath or getting a good book on supplements from the library.
Step 4 – Exercise
Exercise can be tricky. It is possible to lose weight without exercising; harder, but possible. If you are losing weight to look better, or to feel better, then do it with exercise. Otherwise, the weight you lose may be muscle as well as fat. You may be thinner, but soft flabby muscles are not attractive. Working out also jump-starts your fat loss.
With exercise, you have to start where you are; wherever that is and builds yourself up. Too many people start at a level that is several steps above where they are. At best they will get discouraged and quit, at worst they get injured. Take your time. A slow success is much better than a quick failure. If you are quite out of shape here are some very easy exercises you can start with.
Don’t worry about how far you go or how fast – it is not a competition. How much time do you have? Make the walk fit into your schedule, don’t rearrange your whole life for the walk because you will become resistant to doing it. When you start your walk, pay attention to your energy levels. When you start to get tired turnaround and come back (you have to have energy for the return). It doesn’t matter whether you go half a block or a couple of miles. Just go. Do what you can. As you get stronger you will go farther. If your time is limited you don’t have to take more time, you can build yourself up by doing your route faster. It is also effective to walk at a brisk pace for most of the walk but add a sprint (full out run for 10, 15, or 30 seconds). Yes, I said seconds. You will be amazed at how much good you can do in just a little bit of time.
You do need to weight train too. Hold on, weight-train is not a four-letter word. It does not need to be super hard, difficult, or complicated. You can start slow and easy. You don’t even need equipment in the beginning. You can use your body weight to start. Stand by a wall palms touching the wall about level with your shoulders, lean into the wall and then push away. As you get stronger move from the wall to a counter, then to a braced table (braced, you don’t want the table moving and you ending up on the floor), then a braced chair, then a push-up from your knees.
There are a lot of abs workouts. To start, just engage your abs while doing other things. Tighten them, hold the muscles but do not hold your breath. Another, while lying down on your back, tries to pull your navel toward the floor. If you do these for a couple of weeks you will be strong enough to try a “plank”. A “plank” is where you are on the floor, face down supported on your elbows and toes. Keep your back straight. It is your abs that keep you from slumping. Try to work up to holding this position for 30 seconds. Work up to 30 seconds, if at first, you can only do 5 or 10 that’s okay, start where you are.
You will get stronger. If you are a woman, the body parts most in need of help are the triceps. You know them. That is the part of your arm, that when you wave goodbye continues waving after your hand has stopped. Some people have you start training triceps with “dips” or with weights. They are tricky to work with. The problem with “dips” is you may not be stronger enough to start there. You could try a reverse push away. Stand with your back resting on a wall, feet 4 to 5 inches from the wall, palms on the wall about hip height. Push yourself away from the wall just a couple of inches (you don’t want to push yourself over, just a little movement is necessary). Pay attention to your muscles. If it is not the triceps that are doing the work of moving you from the wall you may have to adjust your hands up or down, out or in. Do these exercises and you will be able to feel yourself getting stronger.